South African policymakers are challenged by the limited resources that can be consulted in the field of tax policy proposals that address the needs of the public. Despite the importance of studying tax history as a reference for modern tax systems, decisions regarding current tax collection policies in South Africa have not been informed by effective historical policies. It is imperative that historical tax policies be studied to identify tax policies that produced the desired or intended results, which could then serve as a benchmark for South African tax collection policies.
The purpose of this study was to compare the current South African tax collection policies with efficacious tax collection policies implemented in ancient China, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Both similarities and differences between the ancient policies and current policies were found and possible improvements that could contribute to optimising the effectiveness of South African tax legislation were highlighted.
The research conducted for the purpose of this study confirmed that similarities exist between current tax collection policies implemented in South Africa and those implemented in ancient civilizations. One particular improvement that South Africa could adopt is to revise the policy relating to the progressive tax system to ensure that all South African citizens, irrespective of their ability to pay, contribute, as was the case in Ancient Egypt. Processes could be implemented to hold the government accountable for the responsible and transparent spending of tax revenue according to the tax budget, as applied by the ancient Romans. It was also determined that the policies regarding tax refunds should be applied by SARS in terms of the relevant legislation and in the pursuance of a fair and stable tax system. By adopting any of the efficient tax collection policies of antiquity, South Africa could initiate steps to optimise the effectiveness of the tax system.
Mini Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2017.